The Shipwrecked Man by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

In 1527, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca served as treasurer on an ill-fated expedition to the Florida Peninsula.  Early on, the expedition was shipwrecked near what is now Tampa Bay.  Cabeza de Vaca tried to convince the expedition’s leadership that they should remain on the shore until rescue arrived, but the thirst for gold and…

Sunday Ramble: Travels, Art and Jane Austen Challenge

C.J. and I visited Los Angeles this past week to see the James Kerry Marshall retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the same show we saw last summer in Chicago.  We’ve become big fans of Mr. Marshall’s work. It was a mad-cap three-day trip–drive down, day in L.A. and drive home–but we managed to…

The Gastronomical Me by M.F.K. Fisher

This passage may contain everything I loved about M.F.K. Fishers memoir, The Gastronomical Me. The first time, on our way to Germany, we had sat downstairs while our meal was being made.  There were big soft leather chairs, and on the dark table was a bowl of the first potato chips I ever saw in Europe,…

Red Lights by Georges Simenon

Georges Simenon was once the best selling author in the world. In the 1930’s he was a writer of pulp fiction but once he began writing detective stories featuring Inspector Maigret, he became famous under his own name. He wrote over 100 Maigret stories along with a series of Roman durs, novels depicting the psychological…

Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley

If you love books, then this is the book for you. I’ve long held that there should be an official genre for novels about books–there are so many stories about bookshops, publishers, collectors, particular books and their power. They deserve a category. Bibliophilliac Fiction maybe. Christopher Morley’s first novel, Parnassus on Wheels,  should be at the…